Kim Barloso

GPS on iPhone doesn't work - how do I fix it?


In addition to other technical problems, iPhone users often have problems with receiving GPS signal from the satellite. And this happens regardless of the iOS version. As a result, maps and other gps-dependent applications do not work, or the location is shown inaccurately. Well, let's find out why GPS doesn't work and how to fix it. We will start with the simplest but not the most obvious ways.

Content :

    Turn on/off Location service

    The corresponding service must be manually enabled on your iPhone. There are cases where applications use the wi-fi network to determine your location, this results in inaccurate data being provided.

    So make sure that the GPS reception on the phone is enabled. How to do this:

    1. Go to Settings

    2. Click the Privacy button

    3. Hit the Location Services item by clicking on the Turn Off button.

    4. Look for half a minute and move the slider to the On position.

    This method is quite primitive but it works for the old versions of iOS where sometimes the service is similar and must be manually reset as described.

    Make sure that the offline mode is disabled

    In the same way as above, try to re-enable the "On Air" mode. If you forgot to deactivate it, all wireless connections, mobile network and GPS will be disabled. A "service unavailable" notification will most likely appear on the screen.

    To disable Airplane mode on iPhone please do the following:

    1. Go to Settings
    2. Enable Airplane mode by moving the slider to the right.

    3. Wait 20 sec - 1 min and re-enable this option.

    This measure is also versatile in many other situations, not only in case of GPS failure.

    Time setting

    It would seem that there is no relation between the accuracy of the time setting / time zone with the GPS, however it may occur. You need to fine tune the settings in the iPhone to match your location (not tested on this by ourselves but reported in many other tutorials).

    The easiest way to enable time synchronization on your iPhone is to

    1. Open the Settings
    2. Go to the main section > "Date & Time"

    3. Check the "Set automatically" option.

    Refresh GPS navigator

    If your GPS is not working in a certain application (navigator, maps) it might make sense to update it. Outdated code or iOS update may have caused the application to work erratically and not "see" the GPS signal.

    Ordering software on your iPhone may be described as follows:

    1. Go to the App Store.

    2. Discover the Updates tab.

    3. Check for the new versions of the applications experiencing problems.

    4. Log in the Version history if you have found the update fixes the GPS.

    Reset your settings via iPhone

    Let us assume you have tried all the methods and it has not worked. In this case a factory reset can, in one time, reset all software errors in the current firmware to zero and thus re-establish the GPS functionality. It is strongly recommended to make a backup on your phone via iTunes (automatic), Finder or iCloud (via manual file copying). If you do not make a backup, all /files on your iPhone will be lost.

    How to reset iPhone settings via Macbook / PC:

    1. Run iTunes;
    2. Connect iPhone to laptop / Macbook / PC via USB cable;
    3. Wait until iTunes detects the connected device;
    4. Select iPhone from the list;
    5. On the Summary tab select Restore located;
    6. Confirm the action;
    7. After resetting iPhone goes to reboot;
    8. The mobile device is reset, now check the GPS operation.

    Backup the /files on your iPhone

    Before you modify anything on the system, you must make a backup of the important /files (the smartphone makes a copy by itself during the automatic update). For this purpose,

    1. In the settings go to your account
    2. Find iCloud
    3. Browse down to the item "backups"
    4. You should see here the date and time the data was last saved and just above the "back up" button
    5. In case the update fails, you have the possibility to restore everything.

    Update your iOS version on your iPhone

    If your GPS was working fine and suddenly stopped working, your iOS version may be the problem. Usually the system update is automatic. The developers have made this process as convenient as possible, and unnoticeable for the user. But sometimes there are bugs in the new software, which can be "cured" by updating your iPhone.

    How to update iOS manually:

    1. Find the "General"
    2. Click on "Software Update" and wait. If there is a version you have not installed, your iPhone will find it.
    3. Click on "Download and Install"
    4. Wait for the update to complete, agreeing to the suggestions from the smartphone. Preferably during this process the iPhone is on charge.
    5. After the reboot, please check if the GPS is working.

    Switch from the Mobile Internet to WI-FI

    If the GPS Satellite connection is unstable or totally absent, the Smartphone receives the information through the Wi-Fi network. This helps to determine the location in areas where the radio signal is weak. For this mode to work, simply connect to an available network.

    1. From the Home screen go to Settings.
    2. Go to "Wi-Fi" and activate the function.
    3. Wait until the search for available networks is finished and select the desired one.
    4. Enter your password.
    5. After connecting to Wi-Fi, your iPhone will determine your current location.

    Use another GPS navigator

    Software bugs may occur in individual applications as well. These bugs usually occur after an update. If the GPS navigation does not work with the built-in maps or with Google Maps, try using another application.

    See the reviews of the best iPhone navigation devices here.

    Repair your mobile network settings

    Mobile carrier settings may prevent the GPS from functioning properly. Usually these are set automatically when you connect your phone to the network. But sometimes this process may not work properly. In this case you may reset your current settings and install a new one.

    How to reset your network settings:

    1. Go to the Settings.
    2. Select the "General"
    3. Click the "Reset"
    4. Click "Reset Geo Settings"

    Allows you to disable the tracking of your location for all the applications. You need to change the settings.

    1. In the Settings, go to "Privacy"
    2. Select "Geolocation Services".
    3. Give permissions to the desired applications.
    4. Go to "System Services" and make the settings.

    Replace GPS Module

    If none of the methods worked, your iPhone may have a damaged GPS module. Unfortunately, even the most reliable technology fails. Repairing the module would require money and time.

    To get the cost and to solve the problem you need to contact the Apple Service Center. For the address of the centers in your city please contact the support team.

    1. Go to //
    2. Select the product you wish to repair. In this case the iPhone (photo 1 and 2)
    3. Choose "Other Items" (photo 3)
    4. Click on "Maps" (photo 4)
    5. Click continue (photo 5)
    6. Scroll down and select "Chat" (photo 6)
    7. Please indicate the serial number of your iPhone and, after contacting the support team, ask for the Apple repair center addresses in your city.

    We recommend you to contact the address book of the support as the search engines are the first to provide the usual repair services.

    Replacing Refurbished iPhone with the original one

    The most annoying cause of the non-functioning GPS is the absence of the GPS. It occurs when you have purchased refurbished device. Refurbished iPhone is a great opportunity to buy a working smartphone at a lower price, but only if the repair was performed by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, the market is full of the phones, which were restored by the third parties. The functionality of such devices is highly unpredictable.

    Check your iPhone for the originality on Apple web site. You will need the serial number of the device.

    1. Go to Settings. The serial number consists of digits and letters.
    2. This information is also indicated on the box and on the SIM card slot.

    Now it is worth comparing the numbers and letters in these three places. They must be identical. If everything matches, please go to the Apple website and enter the serial number.

    Other ways to fix the GPS

    1. Reboot : perform a restart - simple software crashes on the iPhone are usually resolved in this way. Alternatively you may turn off and on the device.
    2. Go to a different location : possibly the GPS signal is not detected at these coordinates or is very weak.
    3. Update iOS . The update is safe, performed in semi-automated mode and completely solves many of the problems present in the old version of the mobile OS.
    4. Try combined method : if any item of this instruction did not help to connect GPS module to satellites, try another described method. Go through the whole list: there may be something you missed.
    5. Resolve hardware failure only through an authorized service. Go to the Apple Support site and select the nearest service to contact. If the problem was not initiated by you, you will be repaired free of charge.
    6. <5

    “Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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    Kim Barloso